Talks on Global Plastic Treaty Open in Canada

Wed Apr 24 2024
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OTTAWA, Canada: Negotiators from 175 countries began talks Tuesday to agree a world treaty to reduce plastic pollution, which is found everywhere from mountain tops to ocean depths.

“The world is counting on us to deliver a new treaty that will catalyze and guide the actions and international cooperation needed to deliver a future free of plastic pollution,” said chair of the negotiations, Luis Valdivieso at the UN-led talks here.

“Let’s not fail,” he added as he opened the session that will continue until April 29.

In 2022, countries agreed to finalize the world’s first treaty by the end of 2024, which includes concrete measures to combat plastic pollution worldwide.

The Ottawa meeting is considered very important as it will be the penultimate session before the final talks in South Korea later this year.

Canada’s environment minister said plastics have created a reliance on “disposable consumer culture”, adding: “We’re here today because we recognize that we must throw away this throwaway generation.”

He said in an interview ahead of the talks that the goal is to achieve “60 to 70 percent” of the elements endorsed by the panel.

Annual plastic production has more than doubled in the past 20 years to 460 million tons and is likely to triple within 40 years.

There is broad agreement on the need for a treaty, but environmentalists oppose oil-producing countries and the plastics industry, calling for a 75 percent reduction in plastic production by 2040.

The stakes are high, as widespread plastic pollution can have significant impacts on our oceans and climate.

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